The Arrogance Of Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger Hiding Behind A Website

The following was sent in by a reader who attended last night’s Middeltown Township Committee meeting and wanted to get something off their chest. This person supported the school budget and did not think it necessary, fair or honest of the Township Committee to impose further cuts to the school budget after apparently agreeing to ~$ 1.6M proposed by the Board of Education without first informing the school board of it.

At last nights committee meeting the township committee finally approved the resolution to cut the school budget. The budget was defeated on April 20th by an unprecedented number of voters after the Governor in an equally unprecedented move had called for the defeat of school budget state wide.

After completely ignoring the invitation of the school board to hold a joint meeting in public ensuring maximum transparency to the process. The Mayor insisted on closed door meetings to discuss the defeated budget. At the workshop meeting resident after resident pleaded with the committee to hold an open forum were residents to discuss their concerns because roughly $10,000,000 had already been cut from the school budget prior to its defeat.

But the mayor who steadfastly refuses to hear the residents speak on regular committee issues prior to the committee voting, has been hiding in plain sight for years from the public, just as the majority of the committee has, unlike Democratic Committeeman Sean Byrnes, who has strived to make the committee operations more transparent and open to the public.

Finally after realizing the public could not be ignored the township set up a link so that residents could email concerns. It was a feeble attempt designed to once again hide in plain sight by receiving emails but refusing to hear in public or discuss residents concerns. While both the mayor and the deputy mayor championed the idea it demonstrated that they were only willing to receive the equivalent of a “Dear John” letter without facing the issue with the voters.

Not surprisingly they also stuck to the same pattern of hiding from the public by failing to place the resolution on the website, as was done with every other resolution of the evening. You have to wonder what the committee was trying to hide. It was not until after the vote and after the public was finally allowed to make statements that they finally disclosed the amount cut to a roomful of anxious school budget supporters.

They cut $2,090, 894 dollars from the school budget.

Ignoring all the information supplied by the superintendent and the school officials that they would be unable to cover state mandated requirements and insure student safety they cut more assistant principals from the already understaffed high schools.

But to add insult to injury they did not even have the courtesy to send a letter to the superintendent or the board president notifying them of the amount of the cut. It was just another example of the arrogance of the Mayor Gerry Scharfenberger not even to have the decency to notify school officials or the public about the cut.

Hiding behind a website is not transparency Gerry, its cowardice.

“The liberties of a people never were, nor ever will be, secure, when the transactions of their rulers may be concealed from them.”

– Patrick Henry, American colonial revolutionary

“Government ought to be all outside and no inside. . . . Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety.”

– Woodrow Wilson

“Everybody knows that corruption thrives in secret places, and avoids public places, and we believe it is a fair presumption that secrecy means impropriety”

– Pres. Woodrow Wilson

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Filed under budget cuts, Mayor Scharfenberger, Midddletown Board of Education, Middletown, Middletown Township Committee, school budgets, Sean F. Byrnes

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